But in Excess Baggage, as in Batman & Robin, Silverstone, young as she is, already has the glazed, imperious look of a star who rations her favors. She's not taking any chances here, and it's a bit early in the game for that. Silverstone has talent, but she needs to be in movies that play around with her golden-girl pedigree--she needs filmmakers who can bring out the humor, and also the unpleasantness, in her Rodeo Drive shininess. As the producer of Excess Baggage, she protects herself--and blands herself out in the process.
What keeps the film from being the kind of thing that turns up on the USA Network is the presence of those wayward scene stealers Christopher Walken and Benicio Del Toro. Walken is Emily's "uncle" Ray--an ex-CIA assassin recruited by her father to rescue her. By usual Walken standards, Ray is a good guy, but Walken still plays him like a bad guy. His cadenced monotone and village-of-the-damned glowers are still mighty creepy. The performance is a must for the burgeoning number of Walken impersonators in our midst.
Del Toro, best known for The Usual Suspects, is playing the car thief who inadvertently gets hooked into Emily's kidnaping-for-ransom scheme. It takes a while to get used to Del Toro's low-slung drawl; he makes Tom Waits sound like David Niven. But after a while, you look forward to that drawl--it's practically the only thing you want to listen to in the movie. It's like verbal blues--a sleepy-time patter that comes out of a richer and freakier movie than the one we're watching.
Directed by Marco Brambilla.